Tag Archives: energy in karate

Understanding Focus and Chi Power in the Martial Arts

The Direction of Energy in Your Arm in Karate

I was standing outside the other day,
the wind picked up,
really howled.
The sky got REALLY dark,
and the rain came.
Now,
here is the weird thing,
the rain was so light,
but more than a mist,
and it was striking me,
but it was so hot,
and the wind was so powerful
that i was standing there,
getting wet,
and drying off as fast as i got wet.
After five minutes of this being rained on
I wasn’t wet.
Weird.
I’m having a good time in Florida.

Now,
I’m going to talk about energy,
and it might get weird
but that’s good…
if you can handle it.
see,
after a lifetime of martial arts
I’ve sort of exhausted the normal,
I’ve seen and experienced all the stuff
people normally see and experience,
and so,
I tend to look a little deeper.
I don’t see the muscle and blood,
I see the angles and dimensions,
and now I don’t see the angles and dimensions
I see the direction of…stuff.

So,
you’re warned.
Let’s rock.

In the beginning I was told to tighten my whole body on impact.
I read a bunch of books
and the concept was called ‘focus.’
But, the interesting thing,
while focus was described by tightening the whole body,
the stuff I was reading said focus was not physical,
but mental.
And…
it was energy.
Over the decades I realized a few things.

My instructor didn’t say ‘focus,’
he never used the word ‘focus.’
He said…

‘Loose-tight.’

So what is the difference between focus and loose tight?
I didn’t know for the longest time,
but I did remember that my instructor moved like a whip.
Even with full power,
he delivered it in ‘whip’ fashion.
Okay,
easy enough to figure that out.

But he didn’t tighten his whole body on impact,
he only tightened his fist.
Which was weird,
and sort of went against the concept of focus,
as I understood it.
Or,
at least was different.
Sort of.

Now,
I’m a writer guy.
My best friend is a dictionary,
so I started looking up things like ‘focus,’
and ‘energy,’
and ‘power,’
and things like that,
and I found out something interesting.
Nobody understands what energy is.

There’s different fields of physics,
electricity and hydraulics and nuclear and so on
and each has their own way of expressing energy.
Heck,
in electricity we have
watts and amps and volts and…
and every field has that ‘precise’ confusion of terms.
Drives you crazy sorting through them.
I mean,
when a car has 500 ‘horsepower.’
what does that really mean?
If a 500 horsepower car can go 200 MPH
does that equate to horses pulling a cart?
WTF?

So I was dreadfully confused
by the concept of energy,
until I looked at the dictionary
and read a simple phrase.

ENERGY IS THE CAPACITY FOR WORK

Zingo Bingo,
that made sense.
It allowed me to grok all types of energy,
to appreciate them from different fields
and from different viewpoints.

BUT…
what was energy in the martial arts?
Well,
we can measure it through weight.
The amount of weight moved,
or,
in cases,
delivered,
or resisted.
Simple.
But that’s the definition physicists use,
and they are curiously blind
when it comes to the idea of chi,
which would be a type of energy
delivered by the mind.

Over the years,
following my instructor’s example,
I practiced loose-tight.
This was actually re-enforced
when I began tightening my whole body too much,
and causing myself pain.
Too much energy for the fleshy vessel to contain
and the result was ,
in my case,
whiplash.

And the realization,
flesh is temporary,
spirit is immortal.

And,
on the heels,
because of that realization,
muscles that deliver weight are temporary,
energy delivered by the mind (actually the spirit)
is forever.

Okay,
are we weird enough yet?
Well, stick with me,
go back and read this stuff again,
get yourself a dictionary and go crazy,
if you’re smart,
but…
here we go.

I began hitting people without tightening anything.
I would just sort of…
get out of my head,
have my awareness a little bit behind my body,
and I would throw the body,
like a child would throw a rock,
I,
the spirit,
would throw my body.

Oh,
it was all structured,
and I wouldn’t have been able to do that
without the discipline,
and this means forms,
of the martial arts.

It was like poking a watermelon with a stick.
Bodies flew away,
or,
I could feel it,
they were in danger of puncturing,
and I began hitting lighter and lighter,
but,
now that I was on the right track,
the lighter I hit,
the more damage I was capable of.
And now you know why
I am a bug on the subject of

CONTROL!

But striking people is not what the martial arts are about.
You’ve heard me say

There is an art to destruction,
but the true art is in control.

That is a true and absolute statement.

So,
now that I was capable of using energy,
I began to explore different ways to use energy.
I made massive gains,
which were,
in the context of chi power,
incredibly small.

An incredibly vain man,
found he was but an insect
in the ways of the universe.

So,
over the past couple of years
I have been encountering arthritis.
The good news is that I didn’t believe in arthritis,
so I was able to handle it.

I asked a doctor…
‘what are all injuries,’
she hemmed and hawed,
and I finally had to focus my question a bit better.

‘Are all injuries inflammation?’
The doctor brightened up.
“YES!”
(Whew! She wipes her forehead!)

You get a cut, a bruise, there is swelling.
You get disease and there is swelling.

Wait a minute!
What if you get a disease and there is no swelling?
There is swelling where you can’t see it.
For instance,
if an organ goes bad,
and can’t swell,
it might get…
dense.
I know,
weird,
but think about it,
an organ swelling
without being able to expand,
and the result is compaction,
and this can actually be perceivable
as a sort of dark massiness.

So I was getting arthritis,
and I was feeling this incredible pain,
and dark mass,
in my arms,
and around my body.

As I said,
I don’t believe in arthritis,
which enabled me to throw a punch,
and dissipate the black mass
that was the compaction of energy in my body.

Now,
the type of punch I do
is a bit different than tightening,
or evening loosening.
The type of punch I do these days,
is to open my hand
and flick it
like I am trying to flick water off a towel.
And the result is that I ‘flick’ condensed energy
out of my arms,
and out of my body,
and the arthritis disappears.

Now,
this has resulted in me doing the martial arts totally differently.
I only do the five pinans these days,
plus explore my own stuff,
Yep,
I do the nine square,
and monkey boxing,
and all that,
but I also hold to the classics.
My stuff is good for exploring potentials of body motion.
but I find that the classics have a slight edge
when it comes to moving energy around
inside and outside of the body.

Mind you,
I wouldn’t have understood the classics,
if I hadn’t gone through my matrixing,
and matrixed arts,
first.

So I do the Pinans,
oh, and Sanchin and,
every once in a while,
seisan.
But I do them making myself as loose as possible,
making my body so empty
that the flow of energy in my arms,
and I am talking about sensation
and which direction ‘tactile feeling’ goes.
Then I ‘flick,’
and energy is expelled.

And sometimes,
to make sure I am not wacky,
I close my fists.

But closing your fists stops the flow of energy,
Or at least isn’t efficient
in the ‘flicking’ I am describing.
So I invariably,
and usually pretty quickly,
go back to the open hand ‘flicking’ of the energy of the body.

And,
doing the arms this way
has totally changed
the way I do applications,
what some people call Bunkai.
And,
here’s the weird thing,
I have found a few moves
that are now totally understandable.
They weren’t before,
I was ‘monkey seeing monkey doing’
my way through the form,
in a certain sense,
but now am no longer being so blind.

Anyway,
I guess we’re about done.
And,
only one other thought,
I wonder how many people
have stayed with this essay this long?
My experience has been that a lot of people
hitting concepts they don’t understand,
go away,
even sneer and call me an idiot.

I’m up there in the clouds
with my stupid mysticism and all that,
you see.

But here’s the thing,
I speak from the 73 year old viewpoint,
from the over 50 years in the martial arts viewpoint.
And I understand what it is to get frustrated,
and especially to not have enough change,
as created by the martial arts discipline,
in your person,
to not understand something.
Believe me,
there’s more I don’t understand now,
than I ever dreamed possible.

But i do my best to describe it all to you,
and hope that you at least try to envision what I am saying.
After all,
you’re going to be 73 one day,
and you’re probably going to be having arthritis,
and other things happening,
and,
if i can say something here,
describe the martial arts in a way
that your journey is easier and more successful,
then…then…
then it’s okay that I lost a few of the fellows
who aren’t ready for this stuff.

I’m sorry for them,
I wish I could reach everybody,
but you can’t teach quantum physics to a first grader.

Anyway,
thanks for listening (reading)
and I hope that I’ve niggled an ‘on-off’ switch or two
inside your skull.

Now,
don’t forget to check out
Dale Gilliland’s great interview with me….

And,
by the way,
obligatory ad…
you might try this book

YOGATA (THE YOGA KATA)

Doing Yoga helped me understand a lot of this stuff,
and to work it out.
After all,
to be motionless will help you understand motion.
To just sit and look at the energy within
will help you understand the energy on the outside.
Here’s the link

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/yogata-the-yoga-kata/

Now,
it’s time for you to close this page
and go explore the things I’ve been telling you.

Have a SUPER work out!
Al

BTW
Have you checked out my novel?
Monkeyland?
It’s on Amazon,
but you’ll probably have to look for it.
Amazon tends to hide the good stuff.